The Connecticut Huskies clinched their fourth straight NCAA championship with an 82–51 win over Syracuse on Tuesday.
The win closed the book on a historic four-year run. The Huskies’ senior class, led by stars Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson, guided the team to an absurd 151–5 record in their four seasons on campus, cementing their place in college basketball history. Those 151 wins made them the winningest senior class of all time in their sport.
How did UConn win four straight NCAA titles? Through clinical execution, steady coaching and outstanding talent. Here’s a look back at the Huskies’ dominant run.
Overcoming a Rival
UConn’s 2012–13 team struggled—if you can really call it that. During the freshman year for Stewart, Tuck, Jefferson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the Huskies lost four times. Three of those losses came to Notre Dame, twice during close contests in the regular season, and then once again during the Big East tournament final. UConn’s three losses to Notre Dame set up an epic rematch with the Fighting Irish in the Final Four, where the Huskies blew the door off their rivals, winning 83–65. Stewart showed she would be a force to be reckon with during her rookie tournament, scoring 21, 29 and 23 points in her final three games of the season. UConn hung a 33-point loss on Louisville in the title game, the most lopsided defeat ever in a final.
Learning lessons from the season before, the Huskies dominated the competition in 2013–14, winning every single one of their games by double digits in their first year in the American Athletic Conference. Wins included a 29-point thrashing of Stanford, a 22-point handling of Duke, and 17-point win over Louisville, each of whom was ranked in the top-five when facing UConn during the regular season. In the tournament, the Huskies made mincemeat of their opponents, winning every game by no less than 15. Stewart or Mosqueda-Lewis led the team in scoring each game during the tournament, and the Huskies won their second straight title with a decisive win over nemesis Notre Dame.
The 10th Title
UConn won its 10th championship in school history in 2015, defeating the Fighting Irish in the title game for the second straight year. The Huskies seemingly found a rival in the Cardinal, who beat UConn at home in overtime early in the season. But Stanford failed to meet the Huskies in the tournament, where the historic group continued their dominance. Geno Auriemma’s 10th championship tied the NCAA record set by John Wooden, and Stewart won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award for the third straight year.
For the second time in three years, UConn went undefeated in a season that capped arguably the greatest run by any group of college athletes. The Huskies set the tone of their season early, dismantling Ohio State 100–56 in their first game of the season. By the time UConn was in the tournament, people began wondering out loud if their dominance was hurting the game. The Huskies didn’t listen to the noise, focusing on their opponents, who bore the brunt of UConn’s anger. The Huskies were firing on all cylinders during the tournament, which included a 98–38 beatdown of Mississippi State. In the final, Syracuse was no match for the amazing group of seniors, who ended their careers only knowing what it was like to finish on top.